Free Range Chicken vs. Conventional Chicken?

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Don’t eat vegetarian or vegan? Eat chicken? What kind of chicken is available? Not all chicken farms are created equal. In fact, farms treat birds horribly and produce low-quality chicken meat. But quality isn’t the only issue, conventional chicken meat has been found to contain some seriously unwanted pathogens. Salmonella being one of them. Free-range chicken is best when consuming this common protein food.

What is Chicken?

Chicken is in the poultry family. Defined as, a group of domesticated birds, including chickens, turkeys and ducks commonly raised for eggs and meat. News stories found everywhere about why conventional chicken can be dangerous to health. Furthermore, it is horribly unpleasant the way these birds live their lives.

Eat Free-Range

When choosing chicken, free-range is the best option.  Free-range chicken important for both chickens and chicken consumers.

What Does “Free Range” Mean?

The USDA defines free-range chickens as; chickens that have been allowed access to the outside. “Free roaming” is another common term used. Typically, chickens that are raised free-range have continuous access to the outdoors more than 51 percent.

What is the difference between cage-free vs. free-range eggs? Cage-free eggs come from hens with more room than caged chickens, but not necessarily allowed outdoors. A local source is the best way to guarantee where the chickens and eggs come from.

Benefits of Free-Range Chicken
Great Protein Source

One of the healthiest things about free-range chicken is its high protein content. One free-range chicken breast supplies 52 percent of daily protein needs. Protein is crucial for health. So crucial that it’s referred to as “the building block of life.” When there isn’t an adequate amount of protein, cells can have a much harder time growing and repairing themselves as they should. Growing kids and pregnant mothers with growing babies, protein is especially vital.

Free-Range Chickens Make Healthier Eggs

Free-range chickens produce more nutritionally dense eggs than by caged hens. According to one study, compared to eggs from battery-caged hens, free-range hens eggs contained:

⅓ less cholesterol
¼ less saturated fat
⅔ more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta-carotene

Conventional Chicken Linked to Hormone Disruption

A 2017 study looked at the effects of feeding commercial chicken feed, conventional chicken meat or organic chicken meat to groups of female animal subjects.
Consuming commercial chicken feed and commercial chicken meat resulted in increases in growth, cholesterol levels and an imbalance in hormone levels. Overall, the study concludes that “commercial chicken feed and commercial chicken meat may cause of development of polycystic ovary syndrome in females.”

Free Range May Taste Better

Free-range chicken is tastier than conventional chicken. One reason is eating a higher quality diet than conventional birds. A study found, birds with outdoor access and natural shelter had juicier, more tender and better textured meat. Researchers believe the amount of exercise free-range chickens are able to get on a daily basis helps develop their muscles, resulting in better flavor and texture.

Conventional Chicken Dangers and Concerns

Chicken is a very popular source of protein with chicken farmers in the United States selling over 8 billion birds for meat each year.
Conventional chickens raised in the 20th Century has gone downhill dramatically. Chickens nowadays have no outdoor access, live in confined conditions and pumped with antibiotics. Companies producing conventional chicken meat get the meat from what is now being referred to as “super chickens.” Super Chickens are unnaturally large chickens with growth results from a steady flow of antibiotics.

The Testing

In 2013, Consumer Reports tested chicken meat found and 97 percent contained potentially harmful bacteria. Approximately one half contained at least one bacterium resistant to three or more antibiotics. This is a multi-drug-resistant bacteria or “superbug.” Over 11 percent contained two or more of these superbugs! Conventionally raised chickens living conditions are known for being gross and highly disturbing. Free-range chickens clearly live an overall healthier lifestyle. 

Common store-bought chicken terms:
  • “Fresh” means the chicken has never been cooled below 26° F or -3° C.
  • “Natural” should mean the chicken does not contain any preservatives or artificial ingredients. It just means that there’s no artificial ingredients or preservatives added to the meat.
  • “Farm raised” really doesn’t mean anything since pretty much every single chicken is raised on a farm.
  • “Hormone-free” can be meaningful for other meats but not chicken since poultry legally cannot contain hormones.
  • “Antibiotic-free” does mean something, conventional chickens are commonly given antibiotics, but organic chickens are not allowed to be given antibiotics.
Final Thoughts on Free-Range Chicken

“You are what you eat” applies to chicken and humans consuming the chicken. Consider switching from conventional chicken to free-range chicken. Free-range chicken leads a much happier and healthier life, but produces meat that is healthier and tastier too. It costs a little more to buy organic free-range chicken, but it really warrants paying more for a much higher quality product.

To order your Free-Range chicken meal plan click here

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